The Coalition Government’s proposed education reforms could double the time it takes for communication degree graduates to pay off their HECS-HELP debts, according to some stark new economic modelling.
Citing some new number-crunching from the non-partisan Parliamentary Library, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that women who roll out of university with a comms degree could expect to pay off their debt in nearly 17 years under the plan, up from 8.5 years under current measures.
The figure is even starker for blokes. Under the government’s plan, male comms graduates will likely be able to pay off their debts in nearly 20 years, compared to today’s expected repayment period of 9.8 years.
The modelling suggests similar percentage increases for social science graduates, while smaller bumps were also predicted for law grads, among others.
Those figures use pre-existing government data about graduate income and make a heap of assumptions about wage growth, but don’t account for the potential economic fuckery COVID-19 could cause in the future.
All of this comes back to plans to raise the cost of certain degrees to funnel students into fields the government believes will provide better job prospects in the future. Those changes are slated to bump the cost of a three-year humanities degree to roughly $45,000 – more than double what current students can expect to pay.
Education Minister Dan Tehan defended the plans, telling the Herald the numbers are “selective modelling at its worst.”
Taking to Twitter to discuss the Herald piece and the modelling more broadly, The Greens’ education spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, said the proposed legislation “adds up to one cruel and illogical attack on students and unis.”
The Greens commissioned the modelling, too, FWIW.
If he could put two and two together, he’d realise that hiking uni fees by up to 113% while cutting hundreds of millions in teaching funding (including from STEM) adds up to one cruel and illogical attack on students and unis.
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) August 31, 2020
Add in the proposed plan to boot students off further HECS-HELP access if they fail too many courses, and you’ve got a pretty gnarly situation for would-be uni students.